Archive for February, 2012

What PR People REALLY Do

One of the latest innovations in social media is the evolution of the meme.

What is a meme, I hear you ask? An official definition of a meme has been offered up as:  “an idea, behavior or style that spreads from person to person within a culture.”

A meme acts as a unit for carrying cultural ideas, symbols or practices, which can be transmitted from one mind to another through writing, speech, gestures, rituals or other imitable phenomena.

For the most part, especially recently, this has been done through the transmission of attachments to tweets and other messages via social media.

By far my favourite meme of this week (and it’s only Monday, so there are many memes still to be enjoyed this week) was produced by Edelman Australia, and is from the highly popular series “What I Do/What Other People Think I Do”, and appropriately enough, this one is What PR People Do, as created by the folks at Edelman Australia.

This meme has a real resonance for me, as it addresses what is a real disconnect between the reality of what PR people do (working hard for their clients, looking for story angles, convincing journalists to run stories, organising photoshoots, writing media releases) as opposed to what people must think we do, which is socialising, air-kissing and having coffees.

Okay, so the last one might be right, but the reality is far less glamorous than people might think, and while exciting and richly rewarding, is also a lot of hard work.

So would be interested in two things from you, our loyal readers, what are your favourite memes? And also, I would love to know what you think of the world of PR, and just what you actually do, if you are in PR, or what it is you think that we do. Your answers, I am sure, will make for fascinating reading.

Yours in PR

The Freelance Revolution: Implications For Your Business

The modern workplace has come about through a series of both revolutionary and evolutionary changes – our society has evolved from an agrarian economy to an industrialised one, then through mechanisation and digitisation, and the latest and most rapid changes we are witnessing right now is the ‘freelance revolution’.

Sarah Horowitz of The Atlantic wrote eloquently about this silent and rapid game-change in the way our modern workplaces operate, and about how employees offer, source and produce work.  It was such a great piece, and had such resonance with my experiences and what I have observed of the latest trends not just in PR but in workplaces generally, that it was too good not to share.  You can read it in full here.

Horowitz writes that the Freelance Revolution as it has been called, otherwise known as the Gig Economy or the  Rise of the Creative Class, marks a seed change in the way we work and think about our careers, with a stronger emphasis than ever on flexibility, self-determination and work-life balance.

She says that we no longer do we work at the same company for 25 years, waiting for the gold watch, expecting the benefits and security that come with full-time employment.   Rather, today, careers consist of piecing together various types of work, juggling multiple clients, learning to be marketing and accounting experts, and creating offices in bedrooms/coffee shops/coworking spaces. Independent workers abound.

The significance of this change, Horowitz writes, cannot be underestimated.  “We haven’t seen a shift in the workforce this significant in almost 100 years when we transitioned from an agricultural to an industrial economy. Now, employees are leaving the traditional workplace and opting to piece together a professional life on their own. As of 2005, one-third of our workforce participated in this “freelance economy.” Data show that number has only increased over the past six years.”

For my part, I have been an active participant in this new wild frontier of work flow management, having sourced various services – such as graphic design, web coding, printing and many more from short-term contractors as far away as Ukraine, Canada and the Philippines.  By tapping into these services, I can harness the power of a global workforce, with whom I can negotiate directly on price, and with whom I do not need to build a relationship any longer than the time it would take them to complete the job, with no ongoing commitments or costs.

I would be interested to know from among the readership of this blog, how (or if?) you have experienced the Freelance Revolution?  How do you go about finding your new flexible workforce? Has it changed your work, or that of your workplace? Does it work as well for business owners and managers as it does for the freelancers? I would love your input on this very important topic.

Yours in PR

What is another word for…?

There are times when each of us enter the wordsmith’s own personal hell, otherwise known as writer’s block.  These are instances when you are thinking of a word, but the one you have come up with is not right – you want a word similar to it, or the opposite of it, or want to see a particular word used in a sentence, and here my friends is where my new favourite website, comes in.

Once writer’s block strikes you, if you visit the WordHippo website, there are a multitude of helpful options that are just a mouse-click away.

Among the helpful options are:

  • what’s another word for …
  • what’s the opposite of …
  • what is the meaning of …
  • a sentence using the word…
  • words that rhyme with…
  • translate the word into 12 different languages…
  • find the plural, past, present or future tense of…
  • find a word of between two and ten letters that start, end or contain a word part.

So, as an example, starting with my very own favourite word – you guessed it – brio, let’s see what WordHippo has to offer.  Brio: Noun meaning high spirits, vigor, sparkle, oomph.  Quite!  Couldn’t have explained it better myself.

Hours of fun (well, my kind of fun, anyhow… each to their own) can be had by inputting your most or least favourite words, and when you are stuck, letting the WordHippo wade through the fertile waters of our English vocabulary and emerge with a little nugget of language gold.

Happy fossicking!

Yours in PR

Are You Australia’s Entrepreneur of the Year?

Those of you who know me will know that I am all about working smart as well as working hard, and in the PR game, one of the most difficult goals to accomplish is to generate positive media buzz from a standing start.  This is particularly true when you are trying to generate coverage in an esteemed business journal such as BRW.

And this is where today’s free tip comes in – applying for business awards.  In particular today I am referring to the BRW Entrepreneur of the Year Awards for 2012, a process that is currently seeking entries, and which closes on Thursday 16 February 2012.

The benefits of applying for these kinds of awards are immense and multi-faceted.  Yes, there is a time and cost allocation that needs to be made in order to prepare your application, but the benefits in my view far outweigh the costs.

As I alluded to earlier the great thing about these kinds of awards is that it is a ready-made media opportunity – you already have the journalist’s attention, in fact they are trying to get to you so that they can attract the best candidates for the awards.  The groundwork is already done for you, and you don’t have to convince anyone to run the story for you.  Bonus!

And if successful, your business will be featured in the most highly respected business magazine in the country, one with a good international reputation as well as a solid online presence.  The benefits continue to flow, as even if you are not lucky enough to win an award, there is enormous kudos to be gained merely by being shortlisted or highly commended for an award, or being listed as a finalist.  As well as being published in an esteemed magazine, your business’ logo will appear alongside other award finalists, giving you instant proximity credibility.  Gotta love that!

And here’s my sneaky tip.  Even mentioning that your business has been nominated for an award like the BRW Entrepreneur of the Year gives you and your business a boost.  It doesn’t matter whether or not you were nominated by others, or nominated yourself – you are still a nominee.  Genius.

So get cracking, you have until 16th February 2012 to apply – it’s very much worth your while.  I will read the list of the winners (and the nominees… wink!) with interest.

Yours in PR


Start As You Mean to Go on: PR In The First 30 Days

There is an old saying that goes something like “success breeds success”, and so it is in my business that while we are busy working and getting results, that we don’t stop and think about WHY something works, rather than just accepting implicitly that it does.

While we can’t run our businesses looking in the rear-view mirror, I am a firm believer in learning from our successes as much as we do from our mistakes.  Specifically, I am thinking about the importance of locking in and locking down the loyalty and long-term collaboration of a client.

When we are in client acquisition mode, a great deal of effort and mental energy is expended in finding out about the client, what their needs are, where their story opportunities reside.  Then once that client comes on board there is a sense of relief and satisfaction that they are on board and optimism about the future.

I submit to you that it is at JUST THIS MOMENT that rather than resting upon your laurels or taking a breath, that THIS is the moment when your greatest efforts need to begin.  It is time to dazzle your client with just what amazing results you are capable of creating for them, within the first 30 days, with the idea that they will be so impressed with your first efforts that they would never think of ending their relationship with your firm.

Recently at Publicity Queen we signed a new, major, national client and within the first WEEK, no less, one of our very talented publicist has secured a photo shoot and major feature story in the best-regarded and most read newspaper in a major Australian capital city.  Our intention in hitting the ground running, hard, is to leave them with such a positive impression that it reinforces in their mind that hiring Publicity Queen was the best decision they ever made.

The challenge, once that initial blitz has been and gone, is to MAINTAIN that momentum – in other words to start as you mean to go on.  And how do we do that?  Here are some key tips:

  • be creative – never underestimate the power of a quirky, unusual, timely, humorous, surprising story angle and always be thinking about the visual aspect of the story;
  • think long-term – develop strong and mutually-supportive relationships with the media so that they are receptive when you pitch them a story idea;
  • beat the bushes – work with your client in flushing out hidden pockets of genius (and these exist in every organisation) what hidden gems do they possess? Some unique and original research, a new invention or way of doing things… find those little nuggets and polish them up;
  • never miss a chance to comment – even if the story doesn’t originate with you or your client, always be available to add your contribution on the subject; and
  • be tenacious and never give up – just because a journalist passed on one story, it doesn’t mean they won’t love the next one.

So, my advice to you all is to start every PR campaign as if you are about to lose it, and do as much as you can in the first 30 days so that your client very quickly begins to wonder what they ever did without you.  Hopefully they will never want to find out.

Yours in PR

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